John Singer Sargent, 1919, Synagogue, Boston Public Library
Meaning, Virtue

Self-Deception- A Fragile Fantasy (1/3)

Even though we may think the ‘reality’ we have built is solid, when it holds no truth, it is under constant danger of collapsing. One cracked brick is no big deal, but if every brick we use is cracked, we end up with a completely unstable structure.

Anonymous, 1796, British Museum.
Exploring Philosophy, Virtue

Envy or Emulation

When we compare ourselves to others, we highlight our differences and in doing so, highlight our own inferiorities. We start believing that we are unhappy because of these things we lack in comparison, and envy creeps in.

Jean-François Millet, Potato Planters, 1861
Meaning

Start Small and Let It Be Ugly

There are many things we wish we could change to be closer to who we want to be; the difficulty comes in how to make those changes.

Exploring Philosophy

The State of Nature & The Social Contract

Imagine a world with no laws, governments, or set structures of morality dictating to us what is right and wrong. We are in essence, lone, independent beings, purely working from the thoughts and behaviours we naturally would have.

Carlo Crivelli, 1486, 'The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius'
Circumstance, Meaning

What Does Life Expect of Us?

The old moral philosophers called it the ‘finis ultimus’ (utmost aim) or ‘summum bonum’ (greatest good). The utmost to aim for in terms of our character, for those around us and our society.

Exploring Philosophy

The Divine Watchmaker

“As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.”

Jan Toorop, 1893, The Three Brides.
Meaning

One Choice Becomes Many

Without us realising, every choice we make contributes to who we become, shapes our character and our integrity. Like droplets of water, over time, they will make an ocean. If we really believed we are a result of all our choices, perhaps we would choose more carefully.